Carrying a Torch — Ours!

The Library of Congress (top right) overlooks its National Book Festival, which returns to the National Mall Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22

With the Library of Congress National Book Festival just days away (it’s a week from this weekend, Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22, free of charge on the National Mall) we have a lot to share in addition to more than 100 best-selling authors for readers of all ages.  One of the great stops at this year’s festival will be the Library of Congress Pavilion.

This year the pavilion will be more packed than ever before with a huge variety of offerings from the Library – it’s your opportunity to sample our “universe under the dome with the torch of knowledge on top,” appetizer-style.  The Library of Congress, despite its name, is also your Library, and anyone over the age of 16 can get a reader card and use our reading rooms to do research within our vast collections; we also have a Young Readers Center for children and teens to visit, and several museum-style exhibitions, such as our ongoing blockbuster, “The Civil War in America.” All of this comes to you free of charge from the largest library in the world.

This year at the National Book Festival’s Library of Congress Pavilion, we will have tables featuring curators and other staff from a wide variety of Library divisions; we will also have two theaters where curators and other Library leaders will give brief presentations about their areas of expertise.  Both Saturday and Sunday, these leaders will give fascinating talks about topics ranging from Copyright and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (both of them part of the Library of Congress) to genealogy, preservation, educational outreach, the aforementioned Young Readers Center, the Law Library of Congress, the Prints & Photographs Division, the Recorded Sound Collections, numerous collections based on regions of the world, the World Digital Library, and the Music Division.  Signs with times will be posted, and times will be in the official program as well, or you can view the schedule here.

There will be talks by curators from our Civil War exhibition and the Geography & Map Division; the Veterans History Project; and the project that preserves old newspapers from all over the country for digital perusal.

The Library of Congress Pavilion also will hold a display on “Books That Shaped the World,” which will offer you the chance to vote via survey to nominate a book you believe shaped the world or jot its title on our giant whiteboard.  Come be heard!

And one more thing – for those of you who’ve wanted to go home with a National Book Festival T-shirt – we will be offering T-shirts in designs for adults and kids at a special sales tent across the street north of the grounds, in front of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  It’s near the book-signing area – come check it out.

The Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 22 from noon to 5:30 p.m. on the National Mall, between 9th and 14th Streets.  Don’t miss it!


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